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98 What Is Love

 "Nianzhi, Nianzhi, you're walking so fast, you didn't even hear me. Are you mad?" Ai Weinan saw Gu Nianzhi finally stop and sped up her pace to stand before her.

Gu Nianzhi's face was composed as she shook her head cooly, "Classmate, I'm not close with you, so don't speak to me with such familiarity? I'm a simple person and can't take your unwarranted friendliness."

Ai Weinan flushed. Thankfully she had been running after Gu Nianzhi and was red from it anyway, nobody could tell she was embarrassed. "Don't be angry, ok?" Ai Weinan pleaded, her voice oozing with sincerity, "Please don't misunderstand, there's really someone in Xiawen's heart, but it's not me. I'm the same as you, and that's why I wanted to let you know. Please don't misunderstand me, I was never your match, it's someone else."

Gu Nianzhi looked up at Ai Weinan and suddenly felt pity for her. She was ruining herself for a man who didn't love her. Her words alone were meant to cause a rift and put a thorn in Gu Nianzhi's heart. When the moment was right, the misunderstandings would accumulate and Gu Nianzhi would have a huge fight with Mei Xiawen--while Ai Weinan could conveniently watch the show. He was just a man, was he worth all this scheming? Gu Nianzhi realized she didn't understand anymore. What is love? Was it throwing away everything like Ai Weinan, charging through all obstacles, creating her own terms when there were no terms--is only this worthy of being called love? It didn't seem like there was a strong sense of possessiveness and exclusiveness like this between her and Mei Xiawen. Gu Nianzhi looked at Ai Weinan, perplexed. She stared at Ai Weinan's gaping red lips and her thoughts were elsewhere.

"Nianzhi, I'm telling you the truth, I've been classmates with Xiawen in junior high and high school for a total of of six years and his desk mate for three years. He was our class rep--handsome face, good grades, good background and there were many girls that liked him. I'm not afraid to tell you that I was smitten by him once, but when he fell madly in love with my best friend, I forfeited." Ai Weinan continued, her eyes red. Her words were 70% truth and 30% made up--she even got herself worked up in process. "They were each other's first loves. You know, no matter for men or women, the first love is always untouchable. Xiawen is a loyal man, a person like him would never forget his first love."

Gu Nianzhi, "..."

Ai Weinan wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes, "I'm know about their relationship the best. I also know they have a shared Weibo called "Black Tea's Sky." You should have a look when you can. You'll understand how madly they loved each other without me telling you."

Gu Nianzhi came to her senses and only asked Ai Weinan one thing, "Did they break up?"

Ai Weinan was surprised, "...They did, but in his heart..."

"How do you know what Class Rep feels in his heart? Are you a mind reader?" Gu Nianzhi raised her brows slightly, no longer letting Ai Weinan string her along, "I'll ask you another thing, when did they break up?"

"They broke up four years ago when we graduated from high school. Then my good friend, Jiang Hongcha went abroad to study music and Xiawen stayed to study law." Ai Weinan answered feebly, "You really don't mind?"

"Then it's fine. They broke up four years ago and you're stirring the pot today and exaggerating about how much they loved each other--don't you think that's ridiculous? If they really loved each other so much, why did they break up all those years ago? It's just studying abroad, I don't see how true love couldn't conquer something as trivial as that." Gu Nianzhi finished and eyed Ai Weinan, "From the way I see it, you just couldn't stand Class Rep with someone else?"

"You're taking this the wrong way, I'm not..." Ai Weinan found herself unable to outspeak Gu Nianzhi and hastily tried to explain herself.

Gu Nianzhi was no longer cordial, her tone brusque, "Fine, fine, you've really worried yourself sick over Class Rep's love life. Someone not knowing better would think you're his mom, not his classmate."

Ai Weinan sensed the dripping sarcasm and pursed her lips as she smoothed her long hair. She replied dryly, "I don't care what you think of me. You don't understand how much I love him, as long as he's happy, I'll be happier than anyone else. Love is not about possession..."

"Why are you telling me this stuff? Are you preaching? You're also a law student, didn't you know it's illegal to preach in a non-religious setting?" Gu Nianzhi interrupted Ai Weinan and looked up at the tree lined path ahead. She dryly said, "I don't understand your love. For me, if I love him and he loves me, then no one can break us apart. If he doesn't love me, I'll distance myself and will definitely not bother him. I'll also definitely not stay at his side as a friend and wreak havoc on his life."

Ai Weinan was beginning to understand, she looked at Gu Nianzhi with a suddenly cold gaze, "You don't love Xiawen. If you love him, you wouldn't be so logical."

"You're not me, how would you know how what I'd do?" Gu Nianzhi was at her wits end and rolled her eyes at Ai Weinan. She said contemptuously, "I'll say it again, other people's business is not for you to worry about. Don't you think you're a busybody?" Gu Nianzhi spoke as she hurried away.

Ai Weinan stood on the tree lined path on the C University campus, and watched Gu Nianzhi's back disappear at the end of the path. The noon sun was beaming through the crevices between the leaves and the light was scattered in speckles on the path--just like the feelings she was trying to deny. Ai Weinan smiled and took out her phone to dial a number.

"Hongcha? It's Weinan, when id your flight? I'll pick you up at the airport."


Gu Nianzhi returned to the dorm and felt beyond disgusted when she thought about what just happened. Afterwards, Mei Xiawen called her twice but she didn't pick up. She went to the library alone to make the final edits on her thesis. She was working until nearly evening and finally finished the first draft. He Zhichu had rushed her several times already to ask to see it. She found He Zhichu's email and send the first draft over. Not long after she sent the email out, she received a text from him. She was in no rush to return to the dorm, carrying her laptop bag and sat cross legged on the grass field by the library. She bathed in the last of the sunlight for the day and replied to his text.

Professor He: "You only finished the thesis now?"

Gu Nianzhi: "Yes, the first edition, hot off the presses. Please advise, Professor He. O(∩_∩)O~"

Professor He: "...When is the thesis defense?"

Gu Nianzhi: "Mid-June, around the 15th or so."

Professor He: "There's not many days left, I'll try to edit it and send back to you as soon as possible."

Gu Nianzhi: "Thank you! I bow! Professor He is my saviour!"

Professor He: "..."

Gu Nianzhi: "Just a joke, Professor He wouldn't mind right?"

Professor He: "Cut the nonsense, do you have a passport? Quickly get a US visa. I got you the opportunity to intern at United States Congress. You're free for half a year after graduating, it'll be perfect for you to intern in the States."